The Roux-en-Y

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As I write this I am laying on a hospital bed, third in the queue waiting for surgery. It’s nil by mouth and I can only drink water for the next two hours, then I can only wet my mouth and spit. The operation has already been cancelled and moved once, so I’m still expecting to be sent home, but for the moment I can write and reflect upon the experience.

First of all – this is an NHS funded procedure and being done in a private hospital. There is a lot of debate in the UK about this at the moment. Micheal Burke, a BBC presenter said that, “the state should let fat people die to save the NHS money”. What he goes on to say sounds a lot like a particular Dickens character…

“The obese will die a decade earlier than the rest of us… See it as a selfless sacrifice in the fight against demographic imbalance, overpopulation and climate change.”

Michael Burke – BBC Host

Does it remind you of the famous Christmas Carol quote?

“If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Despite those who’d see this procedure lose funding for the likes of fat ole’ me I am here now and one of the lucky few who are able to have this operation. I am not oblivious to the fact that living in the UK, in a rich country, has afforded me such free healthcare. It’s a risk to have any surgery and I am keenly aware of this, but I am going ahead with it nonetheless and hoping that I come through with a positive result.

A friend of mine from Canada had this exact operation in the last twelve months, and she died of a heart attack a couple of weeks ago. There doesn’t seem to be a link to the operation, but such a tragedy has me dwelling upon death. She’d been helping me through it all, telling me how it was for her and generally we were pulling for each other, hoping that we’d come out the other end healthier and in less pain. She was doing so well, and now she is gone.

Rest in peace, Karen. I miss you.

Yet, forward I must go.

Finally, I’d like to say that since starting this NHS weight loss program I’ve lost over 30 kilos (that’s nearly 5 stones or 66 pounds) and I’ll lose even more even faster with the Roux-en-Y.

I’m third in the queue and probably won’t be prepped for surgery for another 6-8hours however, I’m signing off now – hopefully not for the last time.

Ciao.

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Isn’t it ironic, doncha think?

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Once upon a time there was a young woman who went through the most traumatic event of her short life. Losing a parent is heart wrenching for most people, but this 17 year old lost a friend that was also her mother. The teenage girl became more and more depressed and started putting on more weight, just a little at first. When she thought she could see the light at the end of the mourning she started getting out more, socialising and such. It was just before such an event, a meetup with Church friends, that the girl was almost raped in a park. This sent her down another spiral, one that she stayed on until her mid twenties when she ballooned to over 20 stone and a size 30.

So, of course, this girl was me and she still is me, except I don’t suffer any sort of emotional eating issues now and I’m losing weight. I adopted a vegan/vegatarian diet and now I’m heading to surgery in two weeks for bariatric surgery. What is ironic about any of this though?

Well…

I have developed anemia. 😐

Yes. I’ve got a shortage of iron in my blood because I *basically stopped eating meat! I have plenty of non meat iron sources in my diet, but those of you who are vegan/veggie know that it’s not always enough. You have to, apparently, eat iron sources with things that help you absorb iron, like citris. And there are foods that stop you absorbing iron too, so when eaten together it’s like you’ve not have any spinach at all!

Hopefully the GP will realise it’s a diet thing and not send me for even more blood tests and more investigations, the surgeon wants it solved before my operation – so we have a two week deadline. Just prescribe me some iron tablets Doc and let me get on with it! It’s not like I can add too much of what’s needed to my diet right now anyway, not when I’m on the pre-surgery liver shrinking diet! Take a look at the excel doc for my food schedule, it’s the least amount of calories I’ve ever had a day and I am so freaking exhausted all the time, lol. It’s all for a good cause though.

*I’ve not stopped entirely

Officially a Trainee Teacher

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So, it seems my last blog entry was a little premature! I had an interview for a PGCE in Further Education yesterday and right after we finished they told me I had a place on the course! I’ll be specialising in both Psychology and English Lit, and open to teaching anything really. It’s the next step on the way to an Educational Psychology PhD, but it’s also a lifelong career in itself, so I am committed to education either way.

Healthcare or education were always where I would end up, this way I can be in both. Child psychology is fascinating and I am looking forward to the training as a teacher as well as the job itself. I get to start my D&D after school club now, mwahahahaha!

2019 – The Year of Rejection

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Okay, so that title sounds rather dramatic, but I’m not as down about it as I thought I might be – or perhaps should be. I’ve applied for one scholarship at my old uni and got rejected, and have applied for two teacher training positions and got rejected (mostly because of a lack of classroom experience). I have one final shot this year at the teaching thing, an interview next week for an FE training course. I’ll still have QTS I think but won’t be able to get the English bursary. That sucks a little since the bursaries were only withdrawn from the FE sector by the government this coming academic year, but such is my luck in 2019 it seems!

Today I visit the bariatric surgeon for a consultation, so will see whether or not I need further health investigations and if I am truly a viable candidate for this surgery. I really need it, so I hope I qualify, but remember – this is the Year of Rejection for me, so I don’t really have my hopes up.

Also, I’ve applied for a couple of jobs in my sector and have applied for a PhD at the Uni of Manchester. If I get the teaching gig I’ll be more employable and also able to apply for the Educational Psychlogy PhD at Manchester as of the end of next Spring, so that might be why I’m not so glum about the rejections. I am still volunteering and still intending on getting classroom experience either way. I decided to apply for places where I can teach English since I want to have more experience teaching more than one subject. Psychology I am an expert in, but English, even without a university degree, I am still awesome at. English Literature is a passion of mine, with writing still being one of my dream careers.

Research, Teaching and Counselling

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On Research

After failing to secure full funding for the 2019/2020 academic year I am going to focus on next years applications. I am going to secure supervisors at three universities but only apply for the MS Society with LJMU. For the PRF I’ll try and apply with Manchester assuming I can secure a supervisor there and then try and apply for the universities studentships as well. I’ve only applied for LJMU this year because of crossed wires regarding other funding, so it’s a bit of a false start but I am positive I’ll get to researching in the future, just not the near future.

On Teaching

My application for my teaching qualification is done and ready for submission next week, so I’ll be trying to get qualified as a psychology teacher during the 2019/2020 academic year. It’ll give me great experience, a way to earn money and a chance to add different skills. If I do a PhD in the future then I plan of working part time as a teacher during that (as a supply teacher most likely). It’ll also give me what I need to apply for Educational and Child Psychology at Manchester, that would be something I’d do for the 2021/2022 academic year, assuming I don’t get PhD funding for research.

On Counselling

Finally, I’m still doing volunteering work for the MS Society and with my position as a trainee teacher I’ll be able to deliver more presentations (probably during assemblies) for the MS Trust as well. I want to ask the MS Society about them putting me through counselling training too, but I won’t ask about that until I’ve worked as a Support Volunteer for about a year. It could be a way to get the CBT training I’ve always wanted, but we shall see. Either way it would be to benefit people with MS.

The Joy of Tabletop

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Recently, Simon and I finished binging Critical Role Campaign 1 (Vox Machina). I am most definitely a fully fledged “Critter” now and absolutely love all the characters these guys created and play week to week. What I also really appreciate is seeing how another Dungeon Master does things, especially since I am a rooky (been DMing for a year now). I see a lot of things I already do that Matt Mercer does, as well as adopting some of his things – the homebrew rule for using a potion as a bonus action for instance!

Even though I went on a short hiatus from my homebrew game last month I’ve still been working on it with my co-DM and my players, we are having one shots and 1×1’s during the “downtown” from the regular weekly session (where I have 6 players!). I love building this world with them and testing them and surprising them, I just really needed to be a player for a couple of months and focus on righting to holes in my homebrew and working with the players to give them what they want and need – being as fair and creative as possible on both sides.

I’ve been thinking about making content for DMS Guild as well, doing Eriad Campaigns with unique monsters and 5e classes… Got to sort out my PhD first, of course! *bites nails*

New Beginnings

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Recently I became an aunt for the first time, my little sister giving birth to Isabella (Izzy to me). She is adorable and I already want to spoil her way too much!

I also recently found out that it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever have children of my own. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. I’m not ovulating and by the time I lose enough weight to see if I can ovulate and conceive or even have IVF I’ll be too old. So… no biological children for me.

I’ve decided to focus on the following:

  • PhD
  • Driving License
  • Getting a Dog
  • Being an awesome aunty

Eventually we’ll look at adoption, probably once IVF is ruled out (maybe before depending on finances).

All in all I’m feeling a little numb, not sure how to move forward so taking a break this week and trying to get my applications for the PhD done before the end of January…

NaNo, No Voice & Nuptials!

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It’s that time of year again! I am already 32,500 words in and it’s only day 12! I set myself a goal to be finished by the 18th, since my November is super busy. I’m combining this writing effort with my PhD work in the afternoon so by the end of the month I’ll be ready for my interviews and whatnot. It’s all very exciting!

Also at the end of November is my little sister’s baby shower. I was struggling to find her a present but I think I might have stumbled across something that will fit as either a baby shower pressie or for Chrimbo. I can’t believe I am gonna be a bonefide aunt in nearly a month! Christmas baby, woot!

On the subject of health I’ve been in a crazy amount of pain (need to chase up the neurologist for my pain clinic referral) and I’ve had laryngitis. The latter meant that tabletop had to be cancelled for this week since no voice for the DM means no session! I am doing Out of the Abyss tonight though, since I am a player I can be quieter – plus my voice is nearly back so yay!

Oh, my NaNo novel is for my eyes only, I’m using it to decide what I wanna write for Patreon and what sort of content I want in my fantasy novels. I’ve gotten a better perspective on smut this past year and I feel really confident about weaving adult material into my fantasy stuff, so another positive.

Finally, I am now officially Mrs Woods after marrying Simon on Halloween! Check us out!

Two More Years

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I find it quite astounding that I have 9 siblings and between us we have 3 children, only two having actually had those children. Given the fact my brother is an idiot and I can’t be sure he is even the father of his two I can only be certain that one of us have had a child. Even then it’s my youngest sibling and she is 30 weeks pregnant.

I am 38 now and I have, according to the nurse I saw yesterday, 2 more years of fertility help left on the NHS. Just two years! Fortunately I have a little more time on top of that for IVF since I won’t need to use my own eggs for that, but even then I have to bring my hefty BMI of 53 down to 30 to qualify for it. The key to that is bariatric surgery and I don’t qualify for that until the new year now.

So I have two years to lower my weight a little and hopefully conceive “naturally”, though I figure I’ll still need help with my ovulation. I am lucky in that bleed every month, but I have low hormones when it comes to releasing eggs, something I know can be improved with weight loss. It’s just weight loss takes time, and time is something I don’t have. Most of my 30’s was “wasted” by being too ill to move and too poor to afford healthy food.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, not really. Mostly I am self-deprecating because I am starting to believe it’s not meant to be. I know I do still have time, technically, but as each year passes and with each doctor telling me to lose weight I get more and more disheartened. I see plenty of people more obese than I having kids, some older than me, and part of me thinks it’s nature’s way of telling me this is not for me.

Nevertheless I shall try. I have always been a trier. Every single exam I ever took I assumed I was going to fail and academically I have a 100% pass rate (I am, of course, not including my two failed practical tests for driving!). I’ll try everything, including losing weight (crossing my fingers for bariatric surgery next year) and then just see what the Fates grant me. In the meantime I have a niece to look forward to, I have my phd to complete, a wedding to have and two cats to dote upon.